Hi-Fi Fuses - SNAKE OIL? - or something in it?

There's a lot of chatter about the benefits of those high prices gold plated fuses with silver conductor etc. etc. all over the web and the consensus ranges from FANTASTIC!!! to much more subtle observations.

It makes sense to me, epseically in light of spending lots of $$$ on good power cables, that having a skinny piece of aluminum conductor in a glass tube (i.e. a cheap fuse), in the power loop would be detrimental to the performance of the components.

I decided to revamp my DIY power supply I'd built for the Cambridge Audio 640p phono stage and DACmagic in order to test this out - and since it's a DIY project there is no UL Certification to void.

First, I bypassed the fuse link completely to confirm there would be an improvement and give me the best benchmark to compare against - YEP - BIG DIFFERENCE - much more this, that and the other :-)

So then I started looking for hi-fi fuses - WOW!!! - talk about pricey.

Two fuses for the power supply was going to cost $120+ AND I thought I'd probably have to buy a better quality fuse block to make the most of those fuses.

Then a moment of enlightenment - most power supplies and conditioners are protected by pushbutton breakers and not fuses.

I found breakers of the required current rating and installed them into the power supply. I imediately noticed that there was no deteriation in fidelity when compared to the same unit with the fuse link bypassed - GREAT!.

On reflection, the fuses I had in place were rated at 3 amps - so they use a pretty thin fuse wire in them. If I had used a fuse of a higher rating, i.e. it uses a thicker conductor, then I believe that there would be less of a difference between the fused and bypassed implementations

SO - do the expensive fuses work?

Well the empirical evidence out there would suggest they do
- I do know the cheap fuses are not good!

I know bypassing them does improve the sound - a lot in my case

I know breakers work as good as bypassing the fuse
- FYI a couple of licensed technicians I know WILL NOT change the design of a power supply at all.

I believe the amount of benefit is related to the fuse rating
- but don't go replacing 3 amp fuses with a 20 amp fuse - that's not safe either.

Whilst looking for fuses I discovered AMR Gold fuses priced at $20/fuse.

Now that's definately more affordable than most others at 3-4 times their price.

One supplier I know of in the US is Avatar Aacoustics

If you have had experience with quality fuses please share - especially if they are "modestly priced" i.e. $20-$30 per fuse. And please provide a source :-)

Also, can anypne confirm that Slow blow fuses are better than regular?


Many Thanks
Check the archives lots of threads on the subject matter.

I read a post a while back, can't remember which forum, where a guy sent a piece of audio equipment in for repair that was still under warranty. The repair center noticed the fuse/s and voided the warranty.

So you might want to do a search on that too.
Agree. Some companies well not cover warranty if aftermarket fuses are used.
And for good reason.
Most of the aftermarket (if not all of them) have very loose control on ratings. They are not actually working at the rated speed or amperage.

I am willing to chance aftermarket fuses for the speaker tweeter, but for the rail fuses, forget it. Not worth the cost when you consider loss of warranty.
And finally, you can do just as good with a regular fuse if you bump it up one amp. (and IMO that is what plenty of the aftermarket fuses do.. they just make a thicker wire in there, the Hell with actual ratings..

So, yeah the aftermarket fuses work, so does bumping it up one standard fuse level. Either way the warranty may be out the window.
And so may you be anyway if the fuse is not protecting the equipment properly.
I bought 2 of the AMR fuses from Avatar, and they work as advertised. Overall improvement in detail and smoothness, especially in the midrange. If however you are looking for a quantum leap in system performance, get an Afterburner 8 wall outlet from Avatar. It makes a far more dramatic difference, and for $80.00, I can't think of anything that would make a similar improvement.
I thought it was interesting u compared breakers to fuses. Breakers can't cost that much, and it they sound better why not. Goes to show u that some improvements are still needed...

By the way, how much was the breaker u bought? I bet less than the fuse!
I have been using Acme Audio Labs fuses for several years now. I have compared them to my Furutech and HiFi Tuning fuses and heard absolutely no difference. There was a noticeable difference between any of these and the stock fuses, but not between each other.

The Acme Audio Labs fuses used to run $12 each, they are now $16 each and have some type of damping material on them now.

Highly recommended!

YEP - BIG DIFFERENCE - much more this, that and the other :-)

LOL!! With a writing prose like that, I'm sure one of the glossy rags will be in touch with you very soon. :)
i literally laughed out loud when i started reading about fuses on PS Audio's forum a couple years back. thought these people were nuts. then i read a few well respected member chime in with positive feedback. decided what the hell...i spend that much out drinking on a good night.

got the hi-fi supreme fuses for my PWT and PWD. i laughed again after ordering them....thought for sure it was a waste of money.

fast forward after delivery/install.....i started grinning!!

haven't tried them in anything else and doubt i will... but for the PWT/PWD....they worked like a charm.

didn't notice improvements in this or that....but the other really stood out and shined!
I bought a few for my Lamm ML2.1 (forgot the price, but they were expensive, something about $30,--/piece or even more ?). They broke after a short time. I went back to original fuses and never had that problem again.
Jfrech - breakers also come in a variety of prices...
- thermal $10-30
- thermal/magnetic $40+++

I choose a name brand thermal for $15, because the market is flooded with the "not-so-good product" from - guess where :-)

The nice thing about breakers
- fix the problem that tripped it, then press button to reset
- not - pay another $??? to "Company X"

Unfortunately, fuses are still the cheapest manufacturing solution - so its unlikely breakers will be adopted in components any time soon.

I'm pretty sure good fuses are used throughout the industry, after all, company's like McIntosh have reputations to protect.

The problem is, if a fuse should blow due to a power surge or some other anomaly - what do you replace it with?

The hi-fi fuses offer a good timely solution - until the replacements from the manufacturer arrive :-)

However, if you are into creating your own DIY products, then a breaker is a viable alternative to the fuse that will not degrade the performance.
I've tried some of the Synergistic SR fuses in both my amp and phono stage. I think the improvement falls into the 'decent' category (it certainly is noticeable, but not earth shattering), but I wouldn't buy them again. While the fuse in the power amp has worked fine, the 500mA slow blow rated fuse for the phono stage lasted a day before it opened; the uprated 800mA replacement didn't last more than four days before it too opened; I don't have the heart to attempt yet another replacement from Chris VH. My generic, stock 500mA fuse has been in there for at least three years without incident. Hence, I would have to agree with some of the above posters that have criticized tolerance, rating and quality control in these devices. So, as with anything in audio, you pay your money and take your chances.
"You pay your money and take your chances" true.
People will always have varying results with products.I use the SR Quantum fuses in my amplifier and line stage and there`s a clear improvement in sound compared to the stock fuses.In my experience these premium fuses are a worthwhile and cost effective change.
Jmcgrogan2 - thanks for the kind words - I aim to amuse - sometimes :-)

Didn't want to get into "the fog clearing" or "my ears going through a miraculous transition!" and my all time favourite "the veil has been lifted" - I gotta try wearing that veil someday:-)

Maybe I've created another "hi-fi hyperbole" I can hear it now...

the component exhibited a certain this and that, and lots of the other - highly recommended.

WOW- already used in Levy03's post - thanks for that :-)

A sense of humour keeps us sane, especially in this "hobby" :-)

Keep on truckin'
04-09-13: Williewonka
A sense of humour keeps us sane, especially in this "hobby" :-)

Absolutely....though my sanity is still very questionable! ;)


I have to agree with everything that John (Roxy54) said since I use both the Afterburner outlets and the AMR Gold fuses in my system too. I do have Synergistic Research SR-20 fuses in my amp's rail position, but only because AMR doesn't make 15 Amp Fast Blow fuses.


Congrats on a very well thought out and practical approach for exploring these waters!

My only question would be why is it that a more expensive fuse is needed to do better over what you started with? There may be some other very well constructed generall purpose fuses available that are NOT marketed to audiophiles that might also do a better job. They might be a better design or perhaps just be in better condition to start than what you have. If it were me, I would want to know how a good say $10 fuse works in comparison to the benchmark of no fuse you tried before dropping the big bucks on an "audiophile" fuse. Unless the money does not matter?

Just saying....
My only question would be why is it that a more expensive fuse is needed to do better over what you started with? There may be some other very well constructed generall purpose fuses available that are NOT marketed to audiophiles that might also do a better job

You are absolutely correct - my problem was , looking at a little glass tube with caps on the end, how does one know if it will do better? - how many brands at $10/fuse does one try?

I went with breakers as an experiment to see if it would perform well - they did - so I thought I'd post my findings ( more for the DIYers out there) and at the same time request others feedback on their experience with fuses.

If you know of a $10 fuse you've has success with, that performs well, please post the brand here - I know I, and all the other members would appreciate having this info.

I for one would much rather spend $10/ fuse over $20/fuse - providing it performs well.

Many thanks.
Krell_man and Roxy54 - I have also found that good outlets make for MUCH better performance!

I use Pass and Seymour MRI grade outlets at $26/outlet - used for ancillary equipment in MRI installations

I don't know how they compare with the Afterburner, but they grip like a vice and use very high quality non-ferrous materials.

Don't think they want the MRI ripping the things out of the wall due to impurities :-)

They work extremely well!

So many products - so little cash/time :-)
Yes, I have found that although the fuses make a small positive difference, the wall outlet made an amazing difference. I am so convinced, that today, even though I can barely afford it, I ordered a Cablepro Revelation power strip, because I know now that my $10 cheapie must be holding back my system like my generic outlet was. I just can't state it strongly enough...get a high quality wall outlet, and you will not regret it. If you do regret it, call me a jerk.
No doubt make sure the power is good first. Then worry about fuses later if one must, once the rest of the major items in the house is in order. Unless one notices a problem with the sound that might be traceable to a bad fuse perhaps. Personally, I loose no sleep over fuses once things are tuned in well and to my satisfaction, but hey a tweak is a tweak. Jusr make sure the primary fuse function (protecting the gear from power surges) is in place properly as well.

Also, for some real entertainment, check out the fuse chip thread that has been actively going on here for awhile. Those guys, being worked into a frenzy by the king of sci fi tweaks, GEoffkait, have come up with some real creative places to stick their fuse chips despite it seeming that noone there seems to know how the darn things work :^)
Mapman - Interesting - but it appears you need lots of them - speakers, fuses, caps, power supply...

It would cost a fortune to cover a complete system.

I also think the amount of improvement is relative to the quality of the components you are using, since it appears that the chips enhance electron flow. If you use high quality components and cables this is already at a premium, but improvements may still be attainable.

My own experience with upgrading cables on more budget components (i.e. a considerable improvement in fidelity), would suggest to me that using these chips on them might yield similar improvements.

However, I prefer to trust in good old physics, so right now, until the science is explained, I'll give it a pass :-)

I hadn't thought about the chips like that....kinda a band aid of sorts? OR maybe more like a nicotine patch?

That's fine but I am not a fan of blindly applying performance enhancing tweaks all over the place, especially potentially expensive and/or poorly understood ones. I still have too many other important things to spend my time and money on. :^)

OF course, proponents of the chips might argue that they take even a highly optimized reference system even further perhaps? I kinda doubt that, but ya never know.

When I read about trusted agoner's or other audio buffs that own widely recognized reference systems and that clearly have no vested business interest in esoteric tweaks reporting good things about applying chips, I might take more notice.
I suspect other WA Quantum Chip customers will agree with me that the chips are much more than band aids, inasmuch as they obviously reduce noise and distortion in audio systems. Better analogies might be variable valve timing, cryogenically treated piston rods and pistons, low mass wheels and low profile tires.
"I suspect other WA Quantum Chip customers will agree with me that the chips are much more than band aids, inasmuch as they obviously reduce noise and distortion in audio systems. "

There may be other ways to accomplish that as well so in that sense they might be compared to a band aid, though the defect they address might never actually heal itself and most likely would get worse before it gets better.

IF that were the case, which is better, applying more band aids, or addressing the root cause of the issue? Equipment might not be operating up to par, flaws in gear might be showing, pieces might be mismatched.

ITs certainly easier to apply more band aids I suppose, but which approach is more effective over the long haul?
I've posted before that way back when Peter Aczel when he was an Audio Critic, first enlightened me that fuses can degrade the sound.
I bypassed fuses in all my gear or used chunks of wire,mostly solid core copper and enjoyed better sound,but... it was walking on thin ice.

I was lucky , I had no disasters.
I bypassed or used fuse replacements in speakers and power amps,just about anywhere.

So when news of the newe fuses came out I decided to try them.

First up was the IsoCleans.
Yes they were an improvement over a stock fuse sonically and still did the job that a fuse was made to do.

I posted my findings in another forum and it got quite nasty.
Definitely that was a place where the evalgelists against audio shamans definitely ruled the roost.
The Iso Cleans were branded as snake oil and I branded as a fool with more money than brains.
I was no longer welcomed there so I moved on.

And I moved on to the next set of fuses , the HiFi Supremes which are quite costly close to $100.00 for the ones I need and from where I live.

They were great as well.
Never was able to do a direct comparison, as I sold the IsoCleans with the gear they were in.

Somewhere there is a denier who is listening to the Iso Cleans work their magic and he doesn't know it.

Next I read about the AMR fuses on this great site, which is not so sensitive to silencing those whose opinions are different from the mainstream.

The AMR's are what I am using right now, the HiFi fuses are my spares.
The price to performance ratio of the AMR is hard to beat, except of course bypassing a fuse.

The company in North amarica, Avatar have been great to deal with.

The sound of the AMR fuses and the cost of ownership has made beleivers in this snake oil out of some of my more reluctant friends.

I am on my second order of fuses,for a total of 18 AMR fuses in my system and my audio friends who decided to join in.

I should add that I feel the QA chips enhanced the sound of the Supremes and the AMRs, but they've been a tougher sell to my friends.
Oh well, it's their loss.

The low cost of the AMR and the professionalism of the distributor makes these fuses a no brainer for anyone looking for ways to improve their sound without resorting to "mods" that can be costly and become a drawback when reselling gear.
Plus anyone can make a fuse change,not many skills required.

In fact the only skill sets required is an open mind, a few extra bucks, and a desire to improve the sound of what you have.
I have no doubt that all fuses are not created equal and can affect the sound at least in some if not all cases.

What I am not as sure about is if high priced fuses marketed to audiophiles are required to do the job.

I suspect there are well designed and constructed general purpose fuse products out there that might do the job well and cost less due to the nature of the product and its target markets (ie not audiophiles willing to spend whatever all in the quest for better sound).

After all, fuses have been around forever, are used in a myriad of applications. THere should be lots of really good ones out there for common market prices I would suspect.

That's just my gut feel. I have no special knowledge or experience with various fuses in audio gear to say for sure.

If the audiophile fuses seem to do the job better (and still protect the gear as they should) then more power to them and their users. The extra money might be worth it if it makes the task of finding a good fuse to use easier. But I do suspect that if a study were done, it might find that audiophiles payed a premium for a good product for the job compared to others. WOuld not be the first time they did that, for sure! :^)

Agoner BryanCunningham, who's opinions I respect, recently graciously did some testing of various fuses, including the more generic kinds as I recall, and reported findings in another fuse thread here. My recollection is he heard some differences fuse to fuse but his findings were inconclusive in the end.

So in the end, one's gut feel or educated opinion perhaps on the issue is probably the only real thing that one can rely on.
Mapman wrote,

"There may be other ways to accomplish that as well so in that sense they might be compared to a band aid, though the defect they address might never actually heal itself and most likely would get worse before it gets better."

Like the Intelligent Chip and Rainbow Foil or Cable Wraps from Highwire and Shun Mook, or even the Mpingo Disc from Shun Mook, even such pedestrian things like Tube Traps and acoustic resonators, not only do WA Chips bring things to the table that cannot be gotten some other way - one assumes you mean buying better components - LOL, don't you wish? - but they are essential for getting that "live, holographic sound, if you know what I mean. What we might actually have here is East is East and West is West and n'e'r the twain shall meet.
"Like the Intelligent Chip and Rainbow Foil or Cable Wraps from Highwire and Shun Mook, or even the Mpingo Disc from Shun Mook, even such pedestrian things like Tube Traps and acoustic resonators, not only do WA Chips bring things to the table that cannot be gotten some other way - one assumes you mean buying better components - LOL, don't you wish? - but they are essential for getting that "live, holographic sound, if you know what I mean."

SOmehow, I have that live holographic sound without any of those. Go figure!

GEoff, you appear to be suggesting that using these products should be ones first priority for achieving the sound you describe. You are doing people a great disservice and damaging your own credibility even further, as usual.

OF course, you are a vendor of esoteric tweaks yourself, so your motives would seem to be apparent.
Mapman wrote,

"SOmehow, I have that live holographic sound without any of those. Go figure!"

Sounds like a Bose ad. No offense.

Mapman wrote,

"GEoff, you appear to be suggesting that using these products should be ones first priority for achieving the sound you describe. You are doing people a great disservice and damaging your own credibility even further, as usual."

I'll go out on a limb here and guess you assiduously avoid stepping on cracks of the sidewalk and walking under ladders. Am I right?

Has anyone ever seen the factories where the hi priced fuses are made?

I think this is all about putting decals, shiny plating and fancy packaging on plain old industrial fuses, but if production facilities exist somewhere and can be toured then that makes things more interesting.
I don't understand the ridicule you experienced on another forum.If others have different results (and some will) that doesn't change your own experience. Why is that hard for others to accept? The 160.00 I spent for the three SR fuses was a fine value given the outcome in my system(there's a 30 day return policy). If someone finds a 10.00 fuse that's as effective, by all means please let the rest of us know.I imagine no fuse would likely sound even better but I'm not taking the risk to find out . Safety first.
Some folks on other forums are way behind the curve.
In fact most do not own anything remotely close to a decent hifi.
Most on that forum were glorified dumpster divers,and it was/is still a place where anything found under 100bucks is glorified and anything over that is vilified.

So, to purchase a fuse for more than $1.50,and then say it sounded better just ticked off a lot of the folks with limited exposure to decent gear.

Really it was like going back in time, when folks balked at spending good money on fancy speaker wires, when zip cord is all you need.
Sounds quaint doesn't it?
Saddly, for many of those folks, zip cord still rules the roost.

But enough of that nonsense.

It's a mind set.
Some folks refuse to believe any thing they hear about, refuse to believe what others have said and are just "too smart" and know better than to try any of this voodoo stuff or as they called it up there-fairy dust.

I was the great fairy dust man.

I trumpeted the virtues of de-magging cd's, dvd's and lp's.

I could hear the benefits, and all who I've demonstrated it too also have heard improvements.

I was told point blank that it just can't work.

I invited the sceptical to come and listen,but no takers.

I offered to give away some Iso Clean fuses or take up a collection amongst members and ship them out.

No deal.

No one wanted anything to do with this "snake oil".

I liked what Shunyata power cords and conditioners did.
I was called a shill for shunyata, a fan boy.

I was told I had more money than brains to spend close to 10, 000 dollars on power cords for my system.My intellignece was questionable.
They said I surely must listen to the same 10 lp's over and over,because I most likely had spent all my money on gear and not music.
That coming from chaps who didn't have $1000.00 invested in a system.

So I was called an elitist snob,and when I would defend myself,I ruffled a few too many feathers,bruised a few gentle egos and was told if I didn't follow the rules(one sided) that I would be asked to leave.I was more than ready to go.
I asked that my last parting shots be printed,but censorship prevailed.

I am not bitter,I've been vindicated by a few who have in the last couple of years, discovered some of the things I talked about.
Some of that fairy dust that I sprinkled took root,so all was not in vain.

I always contended that everyone has a right to an opinion and should be able to defend it,yet most debates were shut down when the good ol boys were gettin a woopin and made to look like they just weren't up to the task.

Thankfully this is still the land of the free.
Censorship and political correctness have not tipped the scales that far to the right.
"I may not agree with what you say but I will defend it to the end"-wise words from a wise man,sadly not the vision of all men.

The whole business of denial and scepticism about anything in audio that has been said to make improvements runs rampant in all forums.

There's always the camps,those who can hear, those who can't or don't want to and those who will never bother to try any of this stuff because they just know it can't work, so why bother spending any money and wasting time?

Time and money should be spent listening to music, not the gear is their mantra.
Shun anything made by the evil empire of the High End.

Yes, how many times is that thrust at us?

But, it's MY money, My time, and My system, so I'll do what I want.
At least for as long as I still have the right to do so.

If this is all snake oil stuff to those who haven't tried any of it then I have a suggestion.

Spend 20 bucks on a fuse and give one a try.

It will either be an improvement or it won't.
You shouldn't feel ripped off, it's only 20 bucks, think of the poor sucker who spent 2000 bucks for a power cord
and consider yourself lucky and be forever convinced that everything in this hobby that costs more than a buck is snake oil.

I wouldn't have an isuue with that at all.
It's your experience, which is in a completely different environment than mine.

Where I draw the line is when someone who has no experience with the snake oil tells me it's just fairy dust.
When someone asks for scientific proof that something works but is reluctant to do the experiement and draw conclusions for themselves I have to ask"where's the science in that?"

My sound wouldn't be as pleasing to my ears and garner the favour of my friends if all the snake oil and fairy dust were absent.

But I can't provide any science to back that up.
I think everyone has their own unique findings and perspectives that most others may or will not grasp, beyond the common learnings/understanding . Nothing new there. Not worth getting too upset about. If something works for someone, that's all that really matters. Truths and non truths will tend to come out for the general public over time, but it often takes awhile.
04-12-13: Lacee
It's a mind set.

That pretty much sums up this hobby. If you don't believe that you will hear a difference, you will not. If you do believe that you will hear a difference, you will.
What really matters is what's between the ears.
"That pretty much sums up this hobby. If you don't believe that you will hear a difference, you will not. If you do believe that you will hear a difference, you will. "

...and back to the topic of the thread, a lot of product marketing that might resemble "snake oil" banks on it.

Buyer, beware!
Lacee - fortunately you now post on a forum where sniping at a person's post is "minimal" - but there is always someone that has a "Humble Opinion" to express :-)

To question someones findings to me seems moot - after all, it's - your system - your room. Unless that is duplicated down to the fabrics on the sofa and pictures on the wall there is no way they can doubt the effect of your particular tweak or upgrade.

The other factor many seem to forget is - it's also your ears!

I have omni-directional ears - put me in a room full of people and I have a hard time following a conversation 3ft away, but I can hear a cellphone vibrating on the hallway table when I'm upstairs.

My wife on the other hand has uni-directional hearing and can follow a conversation in a crowded restaurant three tables away - and can tune into any conversation within that radius - as long as her head is pointed in that direction - but she can't hear her cell phone vibrate 3 ft away if it's behind her.

This has a direct impact on how a person is able to perceive sound and detect subtle changes in that sound.

I also find that trying to prove something is often pointless. Mainly because if a person chooses not to believe your findings, trying to convince them otherwise may require lots of my time - and I have music to listen to :-)

Therefore, I simply post my findings and let them do the legwork if they choose - or not. That way I stay sane.

There are many "claims" on Agon that I personally believe may be snake oil, because they make no sense to me, i.e. they are not attributable to physics as I understand it, but I have no doubt the poster of those tidbits truly did witness some effect.

So, keep posting your findings for those that are open minded and ignore the rest.

Discoveries are sometimes ahead of their time - after all, at one time the sun went around the earth and the earth was flat!

That pretty much sums up this hobby. If you don't believe that you will hear a difference, you will not. If you do believe that you will hear a difference, you will.
What really matters is what's between the ears.

True.... But somewhere in-between, commonsense should be part of the equation.

It might sound better to replace fuses with a solid piece of copper or silver, but......

Just curious, are any of these audio grade fuses safety tested by any recognized testing laboratory such as UL or CSA?
"True.... But somewhere in-between, commonsense should be part of the equation."

True, but passion for anything, hot chicks, good sound, whatever, often impacts common sense.

If Captain Kirk were an audiophile, he'd be exploring the frontiers of that strange new world, maybe including chasing after the hottest new fuse.

Spock might raise his eyebrows a bit at first before indulging.
Spock might raise his eyebrows a bit at first before indulging.
Spock would become the fuse for his friend Jim.... LOL.

Figured I'd try one more time.
Normally when '60 minutes' or whatever smells a scam they go looking behind the curtain for things like manufacturing plants , u.l. lab test reports, etc.
Is there anybody out there that has ever seen a boutique fuse manufacturing facility ?
All very good responses.

All that matters is what makes a difference to my ears.

But sometimes one feels like spreading the good news.

Something that should be seen in a positive light,but seldom is.

I could understand the nasty comments if I would advocate a device or practises that would either harm the audiophile or damage his gear or home.

The only damage or threat I can see would be to someone's pocket book or ego if a long held belief is put to rest by a new device or practise.

Had my singing the praises of using an old Hammond bulk tape eraser as a device which enhanced the sound of my cd's and lp's was also found to destroy the disc or be a health threat, then I could understand the apprehension and avoidance of demagnetizing lp's and cd's.

Yet from all the venom that was spilled, you'd have been inclined to think it was a malevolent act on my part to wreak havoc and ruin.

In fact, the intent of the folks who post about certain tweaks making improvements has only one motive as far as I can tell, and that's to give a heads up to others who may be willing to try something new that just may be a whole lot cheaper way to get to nirvana than chasing after a new amp every two weeks.

I don't think very many posters are shills for any company or product that they are fans of.

For all the avid snake oilers of the new inquisition, I have seldom seen any mention of what products to stay away from.
What companies to avoid.

And most importantly what products "they have tried"that proved to be snake oil.

If I have to prove that something works, isn't it fair to ask for proof that it can't?

I agree about no two ears hearing the same thing, and about aging effects.I've lost some of the top end that I used to have, but I can still make distinctions between wires, fuses etc.

I think that there are a lot of physical factors and the level of concentration that some people are capable of and that others aren't.

Some folks listen to the whole score, others fixate on certain movements or instruments.
Some don't concentrate on anything about the music except if it makes their toes tap.

Nothing wrong with toe tapping.
But, I can get my toes tapping with some pretty inexpensive stuff,so I don't rate that aspect of the music listening experience too highly.

I could be wrong, but I suspect the music lovers are also those who don't go searching for fairy dust in the first place, and feel everything is as good as it's ever going to be in their world.

Then there are others who are always looking for the next "fix", the next new thing that will make the listening experience better than it is at the moment.

I think the last group, the audio junkies as my friend Matt called them,are also music lovers.

I count myself as belonging to the last group.

I'm still on a journey of discovery.
Which makes me happy.

Perhaps those who aren't happy with the hobby anymore, should get back on the road and pick up where they left off.

For me the trip has always been the fun part.

The destination is just a momentary pause,and always somewhere out there beyond the horizon.
Out there , following that trail of fairy dust.

What is irksome is when someone tells you that your ears are lying to you and that

For all the avid snake oilers of the new inquisition, I have seldom seen any mention of what products to stay away from.
What companies to avoid.

And most importantly what products "they have tried"that proved to be snake oil.

First, there is a little thing called libel
- it's easy for a company to extol the virtues of their product, even without "proof" (many do), but much harder for someone to refute their claims. Word of mouth is one thing, putting it in writing on a forum - whole different kettle of fish!

Second - if people were to report their failures this forum would be immense
- and very tough to seperate wheat from chaff :-)

Third, people just may not wnat anyone to know about their failures.
- in fear of the rebukes they "might" receive in return.

As you well know - the effectiveness of a component/cable/tweak/etc is relative to the system/components it was "auditioned with".

My atrategy in considering reported products is to do some "due diligence" and revue the system the poster is using (if available) in order to understand why the claim might be valid.

After all a $30,000 speaker cable might not prove "as effective" if I have a $20 interconnect from the phono stage to the amp.

Conversly - nay-sayers should understand that a $30,000 speaker cable on a $200k system might just be the cat's meow! Just pop into your local Audiophile Store for a test drive :-)

From that perspective, I prefer to see reports only on the positive, then I can extrapolate from only those experiences together with available data.

So, we are left with an imperfect, but workable method of communicating our findings.

Without forums like this the thousands of products and a vast wealth of knowledge pertaining to this hobby would be lost to the majority of us

Your words are not lost on the readers - I'm sure they resonate with many, and there's always someone willing to challenge :-)

You keep on posting - we'll keep on reading:-)
One last thing I forgot in the above post

If a reader is considering a product and cannot find it in a search on Agon - post a question about it - you almost always get some feedback - good or bad :-)
Most definitely ,I agree,not everything will work exactly the same.

Too many variables,and a lot of folks just don't dot all i's and cross all the t's when they evaluate things.

Putting an upgraded fuse into a system that is mostly just a source of background music won't reveal much of anything about how much better it is over the stock one.

One reason why I feel a lot of folks fail to distinguish the better fuses.
If the interconnects don't cost $20.00 how will the fuse help?

It's all about the level of resolve of the system that the snake oil tweaks are used with.

And the ability of the user in identifying chnges in his system.

This takes critical listening, not casual listening.
Which I believe is what the music lovers just aren't interested in.

So you need to be of a different mindset.

You also need to know the "sound" of your system, and have a few recordings that you know inside and out.

You need to be able to distinguish different sounds,before and after a tweak.

Does the new tube, fuse, interconnect, make the cymbal sound fuller, or thinner?
Does it sound more metallic or do the cymbal"s splash sound just like the splash of rain on a tin roof and nothing at all like metal being struck with wood?

Do the handclapss in a live recording sound like real hands clapping or again does it sound like rain in the background?

You need to be able to listen for these things.

Only then will things stop sounding all the same or make no difference.

I feel that even the worst snake oil products would have some effect on the sound.
If not better, then at least worse.

But to impart no sound at all is not what I can accept.

Newton's Law , every action has a reaction still applies to audio.

It's more about the ability to distinguish changes as much as it is about the ability of the tweak to make a change.

Do you think it is possible that in some cases with good systems and good ears that user hears no difference replacing an existing "standard issue" fuse with a Hi FI fuse?

My opinion is that there may be a discernible difference for the better in some cases but not all. Afer all, what you start with matters as much as what you try as a change when it comes to hearing a difference.
I may be treading on thin ice when I say if you can't hear the difference between a stock fuse and an aftermarket fuse, or between a stock fuse in one direction and the same fuse in the opposite direction, for that matter, then something's wrong somewhere. East is East and West is West and n'e'r the twain shall meet or put another way, live and let die. Lol
I agree with you completely. Everything makes a change, be it for the good or the bad. I have had many arguments with friends who ask me to explain why a tweek makes a difference, or how it is possible. My answer is that the fact that I can't explain it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Not really if you think they are don't buy any.
I can only draw from my personal experience and from the positive experiences of others who have heard my system and their own systems after they replaced the stock fuses with upgraded fuses.

I have a couple others who have yet to receive their fuses and report back on the results.
One fellow is a sceptic who seldom hears a difference in power cords etc, or at least convinces himself that he should not hear any difference.

It works both ways.
Some say that those who say they hear differences are biased towards hearing an improvement to justify their expense.
I'll counter that some will say they hear no difference because they are biased to believe that such things just can't make any difference.Especially if they are costly.

As I stated it's a mind set.
As such no one side can lay claim to being completely without bias.

I can only state my experience and whether it was a positive or negative one.

I can see where some systems may not need an upgraded fuse to make them sound better, because their design maybe such that another type of thermal protection is used.

What I can state is that every component that I used a Diy bypass or upgraded fuse made for a positive improvement to my sound.
It was never worse.

A solid chunk of copper wire always sounded better than a stock fuse, and you could tell a difference if you used a stranded copper wire as a fuse substitute in place of the solid core copper.

The differences were audible in several different amps be they tube or solid state and if a fuse was bypassed in a fuse protected speaker.

This goes way back to the late 70's or 80's thanks to an old Audio Critic article about the sonic degradation of fuses.That's when I started bypassing fuses.

Aczel said fuses degraded the sound and he was right.But I had to do the experiment to find out for myself.
I found that he was correct.

If I felt that I knew it all and that this is just nonsense,afterall, a fuse is just a fuse and has no sonic impact,I would perhaps be on the side of the sceptics as I write this.

So for years I bypassed the fuse or made DIY ones.

I tried the upgraded fuses because they offered the protection the DIY subs do not.
I found that the Iso Cleans , then HiFi Supreme and now AMR fuses all were a sonic improvement to a stock fuse.

They have been an improvemnt over the stock fuses in my old but upgraded Acoustat tube servo amps,my Manley Steelhead, Esoteric X03,Maggie centre channel,and before that when used with a DecWare Zen amp,CLS 11Z,Classe DR 8 monos,to name a few items.

Not once did any of these fuses have a negative impact on the gear they were used in.

Not once did I feel that something was amiss.

What I did notice was a common trait to what these better fuses added to the sound, which was the same type of difference that the fuse bypass or DIY subs did.
The improvements were of a similar nature in whatever component they were used in, irregardless if it was a solid state or tubed item, or if it was at the speaker or source.

The sound of the component become more focused,more solid sounding, less edgy, with more clarity.
But it never transformed the component into something it never was.
It never made a $600.00 amp sound like a $60,000.00 one.
It just made a $600.00 amp with an upgraded fuse sound like a better $600.00 amp.

There's better and then there's nite and day differences.
If you are looking for the latter then you could feel that an upgraded fuse fails the test and is in fact just snake oil.

But, you expect too mush for your $20.00 investment.

If you want the sound of that $6000.00 amp, be prepared to spend a lot more than the cost of an upgraded fuse.

The DIY fuses cost me nothing, so there was no trying to convince myself of an improvemnt to justify the expense of the purchase.
And $20.00 for the AMR fuse I feel isn't a big investment either,so I'm not fooling myself to justify that expense either.

The IsoCleans and Supreme fuses were more costly,but I felt the improvemnt was worth the expense.Yes even putting a hundred dollar fuse in a $600.00 amp was worth the expense because of the improvement.

I can say the same for the improvemnt in sound I get when I use my tape head bulk demagnetizer on lp's and cd's.
It just sounds better,I've impressed some of my friends with this parlor trick.

They bring over a recording and if it has a scattered diffuse sound, I simply ask if I can give the recording a demag, and afterwards they agree, there was a noticeable improvement in the sound on the second listen,even the sceptics hear the difference.

I can't say that an upgraded fuse or any other tweak that some feel is nothing but snake oil, will make a believer out of a sceptic.

It's that mind set again.

Covincing oneself for years and re-inforcing those beliefs with references to blind listening tests and opinions of how the ears can't be trusted added to a firm belief that everything needs to be scientifically proven(even if the science hasn't caught up yet)is a mindset that may never be up for change.
It's just too deep rooted.

These folks will always view everything that is beyond their realm of acceptable knowledge as snake oil.

Fear of the great unknown.

Thankfully for mankind, some folks ventured out from their caves and discovered new lands.

You know the ones that were all riddiculed as they sailed into the sunset and off the edge of the world.
I purchased a pair of 1.25 amp Hi-Fi Silver star fuses for my 35 year old fused Thiel 03 speakers. I immediately noticed a wider sound stage. With more break-in time a deeper and more defined bass became evident. Mid range and vocals were improved. The fuses were inserted directly in the signal path. The improvement was well worth the price.
I tried several different upgrade fuses in my tube amp. I thought they sounded, "better" at the time, but when the fuse in one channel blew, I replaced it with the stock fuse. Could not tell any difference between the two channels. Fuse in other channel eventually blew, replaced it with stock fuse, no noticeable difference. I now consider fuses thing as one less audiophile thing to obsess over. OEM fuses are good enough for me.